By John Robles
Although the US has not officially declared war on any country, this time Yemen, drone attacks are on the rise and in Yemen went from eight in 2011 to 53 in 2012. The new US policy of prosecuting their “war on Terror” in now “kill or kill” as it is inconvenient to deal with “combatants” if they are captured. In Yemen Saudi Arabia has been pulled in and their air-force is assisting in attacks within Yemen, and now, it is their “problem”.
Saudi Arabia joins US in drone war, Obama obfuscates The latest reports on the global US drone war again raise the subject to the forefront and more questions as to the legality of the use of drones.
The Times recently reported that eternal US ally Saudi Arabia is now assisting the US in “prosecuting an undeclared aerial war against al-Qaeda in Yemen.” Saudi Arabia is now providing its fighter jets to assist Washington in perpetuating its illegal covert drone war in the sovereign territory of Yemen.
The Times quoted a source in the US Intelligence Community as saying that “some of the so-called drone missions are actually Saudi Air Force missions”. Saudi Arabia has also not officially declared war on Yemen.
According to the Australian the new interventionist war by the United States in Yemen is connected with the illegality and the “legal problems” associated with capturing foreign nationals and indefinitely detaining them in the illegal prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba.
The Times cites an unnamed US official as saying “There is no kill or capture anymore. It’s kill or kill”, meaning the US policy of carrying out extra-judicial execution and targeted assassinations, even of US citizens, is apparently justified by the US Government and Barrack Hussein Obama, because of the “legal problems” involved in actually allowing their targets due process and Geneva Convention rights.
The Australian reports that Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA officer stated: “There’s a part of our policy that goes back to Saudi Arabia. We outsource this problem of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) to the Saudis, make it their problem. It is their problem.”
The reason that al-Qaeda (created by the US to fight the USSR in Afghanistan) or more particularly AQAP, has gained force in Yemen is due to the US’ own meddling in the country and the US instigated Arab-Spring. After the 2011 uprising AQAP seized expansive territories in the south of Yemen.
Underlining once again the illegality of the “War on Terror” and the highly illegal nature of the US’ extra-judicial execution program (droning), are continued attempts by Obama and the US Government to obfuscate and use the tenet of secrecy to successfully avoid responsibility for the assassinations and murders that they are carrying out.
Many have been up in arms about the US use of drones since day one yet the fleet has grown from approximately 40 in 2001 to over 7,000 today. Outspoken critics have included the United Nations Special Envoy for Extrajudicial Killings, the ACLU, Amnesty International, dozens of peace groups such as Code Pink, law scholars and experts from a plethora of disciplines and institutions, and a list that is too long to list here, yet Obama and the US Government have not listened and have instead obfuscated, stone-walled and re-written laws to justify their criminal conduct.
At the heart of the illegality of the use of drones is the fact that the combatants, if the targets of an illegal war can be called that, have no chance to face their accusers or surrender, as they would in a normal battlefield scenario.
A June 2011 report issued by the Oxford Research Group in London stated, as did Paul Rogers, an Oxford Research Group consultant and professor at Bradford University’s Peace Studies Department in England, that “Drone users cannot escape a legal responsibility to expose the human consequences of their attacks”, which I would argue is exactly what Obama and the US are doing (escaping responsibility).
In a more recent related ruling United States District Court Judge Colleen McMahon issued a 75-page ruling declaring that the US Justice Department does not have a legal obligation to explain the rationale behind killing Americans with targeted drone strikes. She wrote: “There are indeed legitimate reasons, historical and legal, to question the legality of killings unilaterally authorized by the Executive that take place otherwise than on a ‘hot’ field of battle”.
Her decision was dealing the Obama Administration’s continued rejection of FOIA requests in particular regarding drone strikes which assassinated American citizens.
Judge McMahon further stated: “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules — a veritable Catch-22,” she writes.
She continued: “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reason for their conclusion a secret.”
Regardless of whether drones are a “legal” instrument on the battlefield under the rules of war or whether extra-judicial executions and daily kill lists being used to carry them out are offenses that demand immediate international sanctions and prosecution, the US and Barrack Hussein Obama will continue to use them and expand their drone programs.
We do not have to be enslaved to the idea that we are helpless as humans to do anything against the US in their drone war. There are steps that can be taken. For one, and this is a question for scientists to take up, we can develop the means and the electronic counter-measures to render drones useless.
What has been lost on many is that simple electronic noise and electromagnetic interference can render a drone useless. All that has to be done is disconnect the electronic link they have with their command centers, if the US will continue to ignore international law and continue to engage in illegal extra-judicial executions. Today it may be a “terrorist” and everyone around him in the middle of nowhere, tomorrow it may be the head of state of an “unfriendly” country.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own. I can be reached at [email protected]